During an interview on Friday, Oprah Winfrey got emotional while discussing the recent trouble that her close friend, Gayle King, has faced, CNN reports. King is dealing with backlash in the wake of an interview she conducted that was focused on Kobe Bryant‘s 2003 rape allegations.
“She is not doing well. She is not doing well because she now has death threats and has to now travel with security. She is feeling very much attacked,” Winfrey said as she held back tears.
During an interview with former basketball player Lisa Leslie, King asked Leslie about the rape allegations against Kobe Bryant. On January 26, Bryant died in a helicopter accident along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers — making the discussion of these matters more delicate.
Following the controversy around the question, King criticized CBS This Morning for posting a clip that she described as “salacious” and “out of context.” Oprah continued by saying that King feels she was put in a terrible position, especially because the interview had already run, and no one had raised any issues in that context.
“Anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynistic vitriol to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone…Because it’s not just the people who are attacking. It’s the other people who feel like they can take that message and do whatever they want,” Winfrey continued.
.@Oprah emotionally responds to backlash her friend Gayle King received over King’s recent interview about Kobe Bryant with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie: “She is not doing well because she has now death threats.” pic.twitter.com/M8HrCp8vTr— TODAY with Hoda & Jenna (@HodaAndJenna) February 7, 2020
Winfrey also said that King has not slept in two days. After the question was released on social media, King faced a massive backlash for bringing the allegations back into focus in the wake of Bryant’s death. Snoop Dogg weighed in on the controversy in a lengthy video, NBC News reports. In the video, the rapper says that King’s question was “out of pocket” and he accuses her of trying to tarnish Bryant’s legacy.
King responded to the controversy at length. In defending the question, she explains that it was part of a wide-ranging interview, and that she too would have been outraged by the question if she’d seen it divorced from context. King said that she was mourning Bryant’s loss, just like everyone else, and she made it clear that her goal was never to disparage him or harm his legacy.
The allegation against Bryant was first raised in 2003, when he was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado. Bryant admitted to the affair, but insisted that it was consensual. The basketball star was charged with rape, but the case was eventually dropped after his accuser refused to testify. A civil suit pursued by his accuser was later settled for an undisclosed amount, per The Daily Beast.